- The Eternal Champion © 1970
- Mayflower: Granada
- 159 pages
It was only a matter of time before I started exploring Michael Moorcock’s works. Just listen to the list of people he is compared to: Tennyson, Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, William Burroughs, Charles Dickens, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Ray Bradbury, H. G. Wells, and George Bernard Shaw to name a few!
The problem with Moorcock is figuring out where to start. He’s a fantasy author of well over fifty books that all tie together in a sprawling multiverse. I finally made my decision when I found the first two volumes of the Eternal Champion series at Value Village.
The Eternal Champion is a character that goes by many names and is summoned across the multiverse to lead people to war. I had two basic reactions to the book:
I was intrigued by the multiverse setting. Another one of my favourite fantasy cycles—Stephen King’s The Dark Tower—was based on the same idea. Moorcock’s lead character, Erekose for the majority of this book, is a creature of fate, pulled into different times and parallel universes. Unlike the characters in some of Moorcock’s other books, The Eternal Champion is able to recall many of his former incarnations which becomes a curse. There are some big philosophical questions raised by this plot: free will verses fate and the question of morality to name a couple.
Moorcock’s depiction of war, on the other hand, angered me. He glorified the idea of honourable warfare—that somehow being honest with your enemy makes slaughtering them okay. This is obviously my Christian worldview speaking!
In the end, I’m not sure whether I enjoyed the book or not. Since I bought volume two at the same time, I’ll keep reading and make a decision after the next one.